Black Night

1937 - 1938

Host: Nelson Olmsted, who voiced multiple characters in this series.

After study at the University of Texas, Olmsted began in radio in the late 1930s as an announcer for WBAP in Fort Worth, Texas. When he launched Black Night (1937-39), a late night 30-minute horror series, it was only a local program, but it created a sensation, with mail arriving at WBAP from ten states. Olmsted would read the entire script himself, voicing the different characters in the story. A review in Radio News took note of the chilling music (by Gene Baugh) and horrific sound effects (by A.M. Woodford). Produced by Ken Douglass, the series began November 5, 1937 with Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell Tale Heart, and then continued on with original scripts by Virginia Wiltten. Women were not typical scriptwriters back in the 1930s, especially for a horror show, but Virginia Wiltten carried off the challenge with excellent results. Years later, Olmsted hosted a similar series, NBC's Sleep No More. Unfortunately, no surviving samples of this series appear to have survived.

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